Edinburgh International Film Festival to expand to Everyman and return to Cameo as 75th birthday plans are revealed

The Edinburgh International Film Festival is to expand to the new Everyman cinema at the St James Quarter and return to the historic Cameo cinema for the first time in a decade under plans to mark its 75th anniversary.

Organisers have revealed that more than 90 features are planned to be screened across the nine-day event.

The landmark anniversary edition will open with a weekend of free screenings in St Andrew Square, and also feature a celebration of women in filmmaking and a major retrospective of the work of Japanese filmmaker Kinuyo Tanaka.

This year's festival, the first to be staged under new creative director Kristy Matheson, is expected to feature more than 125 different events.

Kirsty Matheson is the creative director of the Edinburgh International Film Festival. Picture: Ian Georgeson

She has revealed some of her plans for the event, which will run from 12-20 August, ahead of the official programme launch next month.

A new science fiction movie featuring Irish star Colin Farrell in the lead role has already been announced as the festival's closing gala.

South Korean-born filmmaker Kogonada, who has won plaudits for After Yang, which follows a family thrown into turmoil by a malfunctioning robotic child they are raising, has agreed to curate a strand of the festival.

Two major hubs will be created for this year’s festival, which will be returning to its traditional slot in August for the first time in 15 years.

The new Everyman cinema in Edinburgh will be part of the film festival this summe. Picture: Connor Mollison

One will be in the west of the city centre, where premieres will be staged at the Filmhouse, the event’s traditional base, and the Cameo, which has not been used by the festival for more than a decade since a dispute over the quality of its screens.

The Cameo, which dates back to 1914, when it was known as the King's Cinema, had been a mainstay of the festival since 1949, just two years after the event began, after the venue was renamed by new owner Jim Pool and reinvented as an art house cinema.

Its famous guests over the last 75 years have included Quentin Tarantino, Sir Sean Connery, Orson Welles, Clint Eastwood, Cary Grant, Danny Boyle, Richard E Grant, Robert Carlyle, Charlize Theron and Ewan McGregor.

The other main hub will be in the east of the city centre, with screenings held between the Vue Cinema at the Omni Centre and the Everyman, a new five-screen luxury cinemagoing complex on the top floor of the new St James Quarter.

St Andrew Square will be hosted sreenings during the opening weekend of this year's film festival.

The vast shopping and leisure development, which opened just over a year ago, has already been confirmed as the official headquarters of the Fringe this year, the home of a Spiegeltent venue which will be shared by the BBC and promoters Just the Tonic, and a new outdoor stage for Fringe acts and companies to promote their shows.

This year’s EIFF will feature a major retrospective created to mark the 50th anniversary of the groundbreaking 1972 edition of the event, programmed by Lynda Myles, Laura Mulvey and Claire Johnston, which was the first event in Europe to focus on films director by women. Following the event, Myles was appointed artistic director and became the first woman in the world to take charge of a film festival.

The “Film Fest in the City” screenings in St Andrew Square which feature a mix of new and classic films, and an entire day curated by the festival’s team of young programmes, which will be dedicated to films by female-identifying filmmakers.

Ms Matheson, who was appointed to the role last June, was previously director of film at Australia’s national museum of screen culture.

The Edinburgh International Film Festival will be based at the Filmhouse this summer. Picture: Aleksandra Janiak

She has previously set out key priorities for the event under her tenure, including attracting new audiences, ensuring its programme is as diverse as possible, giving the people of Edinburgh more ownership of the event and underlining its internationalism.

She said: "If we only do one thing this year I would want it to be putting on a programme that people in Edinburgh connect with. I want people to be excited and feel that they own the festival a bit.

"We’ve crafted a programme that we’re enormously proud of and we can’t wait to share it with audiences in Edinburgh this summer.

"The Filmhouse is still very much our home, but it’s good to encourage people to see different parts of the city.

"The city feels very different in these two areas – they have very different vibes, even though they are very much part of the city centre. Our overall footprint is still quite small.

”We want to encourage people to walk through the city centre and maybe get a bit waylaid along the way.

Danny Boyle was among the guests at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in 2019. Picture: Andy Pryde

“I really like the idea that the festival does not feel as if it has a big sprawling programme, but feels manageable. You’re not going to be able to see everything, but I don’t want people to look at our website and feel immediately overwhelmed.

“I also like the idea of people coming out of the Filmhouse and strolling down the street to see someone at the book festival, seeing a great dance performance, or walking into a bar and seeing a comedian from a far-flung part of the world. I want them to encounter different ideas and feel recharged.

“I was very keen to have the St Andrew Square screenings on during the festival itself rather than beforehand.

"We will have a whole day in the square themed around the Year of Scotland's Stories and we will also be turning over the screen for a whole day for our team of young programmers.”

Sambrooke Scott, head of audience development at government agency Screen Scotland, one of the festival’s main backers, said: “We’re proud to support the 75th anniversary edition of EIFF - the first edition that reflects the new creative leadership and vision of Kristy Matheson.

"With the event fully back in-person, in August, with an expanded footprint across the city and a fantastic array of local and international film talent on offer, it promises to be an exciting return and bold renewal.

"Congratulations to Kirsty and the team at EIFF on this programme which really exemplifies the renewed ambition for the festival.”Nick Peel, managing director of the St James Quarter, said: “The Edinburgh International Film Festival is an integral part of the city’s events calendar and St James Quarter is delighted to be a part of it this year."Everyman Edinburgh is the perfect addition to the festival and we're looking forward to welcoming local, national, and international visitors to the most iconic of festivals this summer.”

The Filmouse will be one of the main film festival venues in August. Picture: Chris Scott
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